Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was projected as a Maratha king, confined to a limited area for his personal power and that was the negative historical narration created by western historians. The colonial rulers are against the true history of the native kings and their heroic Hindu renaissance wars against the marauding Mughals, as such a brave story of the Hindu kings taking on the foreign invaders and defeating them in some wars, colonial rulers feared, will debunk their own concocted theory of ‘Aryan invasion and no natives in India’.
This western history narration was stratified, with added distortions, by Jawaharlal Nehru patronised Marxist historians of India under the guidance of first education minister of India Abul Kalam Azad. Thus in the Independent India’s history curriculum, at all levels of teaching, the great Hindu kings who fought against the Mughals went uncovered. Generations’ together young Indians were forced to learn more of Akbar and other Mughals including the temple destroyers like Aladdin Khilji, Muhammad Ghori, Babar, Aurangzeb etc. and are prevented from reading the true Hindu fighters like Lachit Borphukan of Assam, Shivaji Maharaj of Maratha, Rana Pratap of Rajput clan and great Krishnadevaraya the builder of legendary Hampi city in south India. Demand to include the Hindu king’s history and their bravery to be made part of history curriculum was rejected, by Marxist historian and their political patronisers, alleging that such demands are ‘communal’. That injustices done to the factual Indian history and the details of wars fought by the Hindu kings and other related heroic acts of theirs can be put in public domain and in the curriculum by reconstructing the facts by adding the local information unearthed in the post independent Bharat and thus identifying the places associated with the life of heroes of Bharat and resurrecting them.
One such holy place, now ready to place before the nation, associated with the life of Shivaji Maharaj is Srisailam, one of the twelve jyotirlingas of India, located on the banks of river Krishna, in Andhra Pradesh. Srisailam, the abode of Lord Shiva (Mallikarjuna) and ma Parvati ( Brahmaramba) situated on the hill in the Nallamala forests is a pilgrimage place for Telugu, Kannada and Marathi speaking people from times immemorial. Shivaji’s visit to Srisaila kshetra is significant in more than one way.
Historian Kedar Phalke in his well-researched book ‘The Legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji: Kingdom to Empire 1600-1818, traced the Southern sojourn of Shivaji and’ marked the path of his expedition in the Deccan and his interaction with the Golkonda Nawabs. It was during that time Shivaji halted at Srisailam and stayed there for some time spending time both in spiritual and statecraft. The Darbar Hall he built for his meetings and Dhyana Mandiram for his exclusive use were described. These two buidings which were in dilapidated condition were identified by the Hindu organisations lead by RSS and took up the proud responsibility to renovation and reconstruction of those structures associated with the life of Shivaji and thus the Shivaji Spoorthi Kendra came into exhistence after over three decade old activity. Shivaji’s contribution to the temple in building the northern gopuram, now after restoration referred as Shivaji gopuram, is recorded. Mother Bhavani (Brahmaramba) reminding Shivaji about the sword she gave earlier and handed over one more here to continue his fight against temples destroyers. Inside the temple the idol of Shivaji accepting the sword from Mother Bhavani can be seen now.
Now the Shivaji Spoorthi Kendra is a centre for the Hindu renaissance and offers the spirit of fight for the Hindu youth. It is must visit for the pilgrims to the Srisaila Jyotirlinga.
Shivaji Spoorthi Kendram includes the restored Darbar Hall on the first floor where the Shivaji Maharaj majestically sits with all his ministers can take visitors to the era of Chhatrapati. The images arranged there are full of life and provides the feel of being part of Shivaji’s Durbar. On the walls of the Durbar hall are the attractive glass fibre made 3D images of different stages of Shivaji Maharaj and that warrior’s great achievements, such as the initiation he had from his mentors, Mother Jiji Bai, Guru Khondodev, and Spiritual guide Samartha Ramadas can be seen. The proud depictions there include the forts Shivaji built, conquered, the ship building technology he employed and the forces he readied. His attack on Afjul Khan, his escape from the Agra fort and his coronation where even some Europeans are seen paying respect to Shivaji’s authority. Every minute spent in Shivaji Darbar hall is a walk into the history of great Hindu fighter.
In the Dhyana Mandiram the life size Shivaji statue in the dhyana mudra, performing Tapasya in front of Goddess Brahmaramaba Devi make the visitors to join that great king in his tapasya and take owe to build a great nation of Hindu. It is for that spoorthi generated by Shivaji that he is adored as the Hindu Samrat by the millions of Hindus across this Bharat Khanda.
Shivaji the founder of Maratha empire, who fought and halted the Mughal empire in their attempt to conquer areas beyond Vindhyas , is venerated across the country as the Hindu champion as he was the first to debunk the notion of ‘invincible Moghuls’ and took head on treacherous Aurangzeb. It was that Maratha and Hindu consciousness which Shivaji ignited in the minds of fighting Hindus which helped Maratha clans to continue their fight against Aurangzeb for over 25 years even after the untimely death of Shivaji. It was this valour and spirit of Shivaji and his descendants which forced Aurangzeb as a defeated man in present day Maharashtra area. On his death bed Aurangzeb regretted his boasting words of “savouring the Maratha Empire with in few days” and returning victorious to Delhi. However, Aurangzeb’s death, as disheartened ruler and despair, ultimately lead to the collapse of Mughal Empire.
The heroic role Shivaji played in Maratha Empire building in the Madhya Bharat and Northern Bharat is well known however the lasting impact Shivaji created in the southern part of Bharat is not well known. It was Srisailam kshetra, the spiritual centre for Trilinga desa, which gave fillip and guidance to the wavering mind of Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji, born on February 1630 has taken up the fight to the establishment of Hindu Rashtra at a very young age of 14 years by conquering the Torna Durg in 1644.For the next thirty years, till he was officially coronate as the Hindu King, Shivaji was fighting all through.
Shivaji Maharaj’s southern sojourn has a Ram Temple connection and that was not known to many. The famous Ram temple at Bhadrachalam, on the bank of River Godavari, was built by Rama Bhakth Ramadasu in the 17th century. The Golconda Nawab Tanisha, arrested and tortured Bhakta Ramadasu in the Golkonda Fort jail, on the alleged offence of using the government funds for building the Ram temple. Despite Bhaktha Ramdas was the nephew of Akkannna and Madanna, the ministers of Golconda Nawab, the ruler has not released Ramadas. It was at this stage that those two Hindu ministers of Muslim rulers secretly sought the help of Shivaji. Being the champion of establishment of Hindu kingdom obliged and announced his intention to move towards Golconda. The Golconda Nawab, on arrival of Shivaji, offered truce and accepted Chatrapti’s suggestion of not joining hands with the foreign origin Muslim rulers against the native Hindu kings. It was during that stay Shivaji consecrated Bhavani temple at the highest point of Golconda fort and offered Harati to the deity. It was Shivaji who started the tradition of Bonalu to the deity Bhavani in the Golkonda and take them in a procession to the residences of minister Akkanna andMadanna. That is the basis for the continuation of carrying Bonalu, even now, from Golconda Fort to minister’s house some distance away. All through this period, despite the seat of power of Nawabs, shifting from Golconda Fort to the Hyderabad city, the tradition of first bonalu offering at Golconda Fort continues. Shivaji achieved the twin objects of subjugating the Golconda Nawab and also getting the release of Bhaktha Ramadas from the jail. It was during Shivaji’s stay in Golconda Fort that Nawab was made to send the offerings to the Ram temple at Bhadrachalam on the celestial marriage of Maryada Purusha Rama being performed at that Ram temple. This was continued till the last Nawab surrendered his authority to the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel on Sept 16, 1948. The people elected governments of Andhra Pradesh and current Telangana state continued to offer the gifts to Lord Rama at Bhadrachalam subsequent years and that is an unbroken traditions even now.
For some time Shivaji ran the administration from Srisailam, the abode Jyothirlinga, with the blessing of the Lord Siva. He was reportedly contemplated about the wars he was making and whether to go ahead with the planned expansion or not. Shivaji prayed performed tapasya under the guidance of Bhaktha Tukaram and Samartha Ramadas for 10 days in front of Mother Brahmaramba. Mother Bhavani appeared before him and reminded him of the sword she has given to him in Tulja Bhavani kshetra and also believed that Brahmaramba presented him another sword at Srisaila Jyothirlinga kshetra.
Having received the blessings of Mother Bramarambha Devi (Bhavani, Parvati), Shivaji continued his southern sojourn towards the other holy places in Andhra Pradesh like Tirumala and Sri Kalahasthi and offered prayers. On the way many Muslim subedars welcomed Shivaji. On his way Shivaji conquered the forts of Vellore, Ginjee and fortified them for the Maratha Empire and after some negotiation with his step-brother and touching Thanjavoor, on the banks of river Kaveri. Shivaji chose to return back not on the same route and travelled in a different route visiting important pilgrimage and strategic places in the south Chidmabaram, the Akasa Linga kshetra, Chennapatnam (Chennai), Kolar, Torgal, Kolhapur and finally Raighad. May be Shivaji had grand ideas and plans to expand his Hindu Rajya foot print in the southern parts. To the misfortune of the Hindus and Bharat Shivaji Maharaj died within three years of completing the south Bharat sojourn.
However, Shivaji’s southern sojourn spirit is maintained in a grand scale in Srisaila Kshetra by the establishment of Sivaji Spoorthi Kendra there. The Kendra now part of Hindu pilgrims in the southern Bharat.